Celtics riding momentum to Cleveland
|04.10.09 at 11:31 pm ET|
When the Boston Celtics arrived in Cleveland in January, they had just dropped their third consecutive game and were in the middle of their longest losing streak since last season. The following game, the Cavaliers blew them out by 15 points.
But thanks to a grind-it-out victory over the Miami Heat on Friday night in Boston, the Celtics are riding the momentum of a six-game winning streak into Sunday’s game in Cleveland. (Click here for a recap) They will try to make a dent in the Cavs’ four-game lead of the top spot, and while head coach Doc Rivers conceded the number one seed weeks ago, the Celtics are looking to build on their two-game lead over the Orlando Magic for the second spot.
‘Every game is a big game for us,’ said Paul Pierce. ‘We’re trying to lock up the number two seed. I think Cleveland locked up the number one seed tonight, so we’re trying to lock up the number two seed. So every game is big for us. We’re only [two] games in front of Orlando, so these last three games we feel like we have to win them all.’
With less than a week left in the regular season, the Celtics have to tackle Sunday’s game as if it were a Game Seven situation. The Cavaliers are sure to as they battle against the Los Angeles Lakers for the number one overall seed.
‘Everybody we play from here on out is basically trying to achieve something,’ said Tony Allen. ‘So each game is playoff-like. We’re going in there with a clear focus that we need to win just as badly as they do because they’re competing with L.A. We’ve got to take it as a must-win game that we need because we’ve got goals that we need to achieve too. It’s going to be a tough fight.’
The Celtics will turn to their bench to help carry the team without Kevin Garnett. Friday’s win against the Heat was a confidence-booster for the reserves.
‘You play a little looser. You play with a little more confidence,’ said Mikki Moore of playing on a winning streak. ‘But we just have to concentrate on the defensive end. We’re pretty sound on the offensive ends. As long as we don’t have too many turnovers and we play solid defense, we’re alright.’
As for Ray Allen, he is simply looking forward to putting a blemish on the Cavaliers’ near-perfect 38-1 home record.
‘They take care of what they have to take care of, we take care of what we have to take care of,’ he said. ‘I think we know where we stand, but as a team it will be a great win on the road for us and that’s what we’re looking forward to.’
The Celtics and Cavaliers will face off at 3:30pm EST on Easter Sunday.